1. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Q about finding an agent?

    Discussion in 'Publishing' started by live2write, Apr 12, 2012.

    Where can you find them?

    How can I find one in my area?

    How do I know if they are legit and do I have to have a contract before an agent represents me?

    Do I have to pay up front or is that worked out afterwards?
     
  2. The Tourist
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    The Tourist Banned

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    What is your general area?

    I'm in the midwest, and I'm even having trouble finding a local creative writing club in the middle of a B&N.

    I think I have enough chapters finished to start looking around for more 'formal' aspects of publishing, and I cannot find the most rudimentary people and information.
     
  3. Z. C. Bolger
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    Z. C. Bolger Member

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    Live... first off: Dope avatar pic.

    Secondly, I looked up great authors in my genre and found out who represented them. that can give you a good idea who the agent is, what products they have gotten and if they are successful.

    Thirdly, you do not have to have a contract before you get an agent (if you mean publishing contract) that's their job. they are the ones who get you the contract. If you do get a contract before an agent DO NOT SIGN IT! Either get an agent (at a lower percentage then normal which is 15% because you already took the hard part out of their work) or have a literary lawyer look it over. You dont want to lose the right to your book's foreign sales and movie rights just because you were so excited to sign anything they put in front of you.

    Fourthly, you do not pay up front for any agent. If they ask you too tell them "To fuck off". The agent makes his money off of what he gets you (usually 15% off the top) if they ask for money first it will most likely turn out to be a shady agent.
     
  4. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    Here in the UK we have the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook which lists agents and publishers.

    Try the reference section at your local library.

    As Z.C. already said 'agents don't get money upfront'. If they don't think your work is marketable, they wont take you on; that is the chance they take when they decide if you are worth investing their time on.
     
  5. bethklewis
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    bethklewis Member

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    Where can you find them? Google is your friend.

    How can I find one in my area? You don't need to have an agent in your area but it's advisable to look for one in your country. There are agents everywhere but get a resource like the Writer's and Artist's Handbook or have a look at the website of the association of literary agents in your country (US - Association of Author Representatives, UK - Association of Author's Agents).

    How do I know if they are legit and do I have to have a contract before an agent represents me? If they ask for payment up front they are not legit. If they are a member of the above associations they are most probably legit. Having a publication offer before contacting agents is a big plus but don't sign anything until you've got an agent or had a lawyer look over the contract. Even if I had an offer of publication from Random House, I would still want an agent, they are a great resource and shouldn't be bypassed, especially not for financial reasons.

    Do I have to pay up front or is that worked out afterwards? Agents take a commission.

    Trawl through the Writer Beware blog, they expose fraudulent literary agents and publishers. On a basic level, find other authors in your genre, with similar books to yours and find out which agency represents them, this can be done by a quick search online. If it's a well-known author, such as Susan Hill or Stephen King, you can be assured that that agency is pretty legitimate and has good ties to the publishing houses.
     
  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...on agent listing sites and/or in Writers' & Artists' Yearbook in the UK

    ...an agent doesn't have to be in your area... can be anywhere in the world, but it's best to have one in the country where you want to see your book published...
    ...by checking them out thoroughly... start at preditors & editors... http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/
    ...no, you don't have to have a contract, but it does help if you have gotten some interest from a publisher... however, most authors get the agent first and have them approach publishers...

    ...no legit agent will charge a single penny up front... they don't get paid till you do and then take their 15% off the top...

    ...i have several good agent listings for the us/uk/canada/australia that i'll be glad to send you if you drop me a line...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
  7. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    agentquery.com is an excellent resource to find agents that would be interested in you. Once you find a couple, check them out on preditors and editors, and also check to see if they are members of AAR.
     
  8. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Thank you all for your posts. I have read through them and I have a few more questions and answers below.

    1. I live in the Tri-state area in the U.S. Specifically Philadelphia.

    2. I understand that google is an awesome search engine, however sometimes things that may seem legit could be a trap to chaos. As much as any business tries to keep their reputation I would rather hear some from experience and use google as a secondary resource.

    3. Reason I ask for agent to author contract is for protection of both parties. If there is no contract that is offered I assume that my work or the work of the author is protected and not sold off. And yes I do know the laws with foreign and international sales. I believe that is why when things are copyrighted there is the "All Rights Reserved" line.

    4. I have read you NEVER pay an agent. They take a percentage of the sales to the publisher. Now the follow up question, do I have to pay money up front to the publisher or do they handle the budget of editing, processing, print and distribution and I the author will receive a cut later.

    Last but not least, are there (you do not have to list) reputable directories online that will show reputable agents. This is a yes or no question.
     
  9. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    When you write a novel, you should not be paying for anything associated with it - not for an editor, an agent or a publisher. Any money involved must always flow from them to you. The only expense you should anticipate is to pay a lawyer to look over the contract for you, and that shouldn't cost a lot because it is what, like an hour of their time plus minus a letter.
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    ...it doesn't matter where you live, thanks to the uspo and email... but nearness to major publishing centers [nyc is the mecca of same] does help in taking meetings, if you get that far...

    ...which is where google is still helpful, since you can google for feedback on anything and anyone... and you can find agents'/publishers' websites that way, in order to see if they look legit... you should also always check out any agent/publisher/whatever at preditors & editors first...

    ...agents most often offer an 'agreement' which is about the same as a 'contract'... you can find samples of the most common version with google...
    http://www.google.com/webhp?rls=ig#hl=en&gs_nf=1&cp=19&gs_id=29&xhr=t&q=literary+agency+agreement&pf=p&sclient=psy-ab&rls=ig&site=webhp&source=hp&oq=literary+agency+agr&aq=0&aqi=g1g-q2&aql=&gs_l=&pbx=1&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.,cf.osb&fp=b1508b3d0e075ddc&biw=604&bih=387
    also go over all the detailed info on the p&e site: http://www.invirtuo.cc/prededitors/pubagent.htm

    ...NO!... not a penny... you may get an advance, but many publishers don't offer one to a new author... they will absorb all costs of publishing and promoting your book, for which they take the lion's share of the profits... you will be paid a royalty on each book sold, the percentage to be negotiated by your agent... which is why having one more than makes up for the 15% commission they take off the top...

    ...yes... as i said above, i have several in all parts of the english-speaking world that i'll be happy to send you if you drop me a line...

    hope this answers all your questions... hugs, m
     
  11. aimeekath
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    aimeekath Senior Member

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    Go to the writers and artists yearbook, then find someone who works with similar books to yours. Never pay someone upfront because they're usually scammers.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    this poster lives in the u s, so the writers and artists yearbook won't be any help, as it's for the u k...
     

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